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HALL OF FAMEon January 8, 2006
MOGAMBO is a remake of the 1932 classic "Red Dust", based on Wilson Collison's Broadway play. John Lee Mahin re-tooled his original screenplay, and Clark Gable returned to reprise his role of a rubber plantation owner (Dennis Carson in "Red Dust", but called Victor Marswell in the remake).

Clark Gable's performamce is amazing. How often does an actor have the opportunity of revisiting a character 20 years later, and use their maturity and experience to flesh out the role to a greater extent than they did before? In "Red Dust", Gable was magnificent, but here in MOGAMBO, he is positively magnetic.

Ava Gardner plays Eloise Kelly (`Honey Bear') who battles with crisp Linda Nordley (Grace Kelly) for the affections of Victor. Gardner is more than a match for Jean Harlow; and Grace Kelly, in one of her first big important roles, is fantastic in the part originally taken by Mary Astor. Filmed on location in Africa, director John Ford brings a lot more action and cinematic thrill to the story, but the central love-trilogy remains the focus. Highly-recommend, but if you haven't seen "Red Dust", I recommend that as well.
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on February 8, 2003
Mogambo was essentially a convoluted love story set against the glorious and picturesque backdrop of the African savannah.
A somewhat aged looking Clark Gable in his typical macho style played Victor Marswell a safari leader and procurer of wild animals for zoos and circuses based in Kenya. Arriving at Gable's complex unexpectedly in search of a recently departed maharajah is the raven haired beauty Ava Gardner. Gardner, a wordly chorus girl from New York and Gable imediately hit it off. Things are proceeding swimmingly until the arrival of the next safari clients, the Nordleys. Professor Nordley played by Donald Sinden is an anthropologist interested in gorillas. His wife the prim, proper and lovely Grace Kelly rues her loveless marriage and is smitten with Gable. Gable returns her advances and soon we are in the midst of a love quadrangle.
The heat is turned up as the group goes on safari to gorilla country and passions percolate. All the while they are fleeing from hostile natives, chasing a plethora of wild and exotic animals and travelling through some of the most scenic country imaginable.
The interplay among the main characters as well as the supporting cast was very amusing. The settings and cinematography was first rate. The satisfying conclusion ties up the plot into a neat little package.
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on July 9, 2006
It's not often that a major star is given the opportunity to star in a re-make of a film. It's happened twice, that I know of: Clark Gable did it in Mogambo (a re-make of Red Dust) and Betty Grable re-made Coney Island as Wabash Avenue. However, I am here to ask if anyone has noticed that the DVD of Mogambo looks a bit soft and blurry in the wide shots. It's only in the close-up scenes that the picture looks sharp and clear. So many reviewers on this site focus on the stars, the director and the story, which is all well and good, but it would be very helpful if there were more emphasis on the picture and sound qualities of the DVDs as well. A great movie can suffer from poor sound and picture quality. It's a shame that some of the major studios do not bother to remaster some of their prints before releasing them. Come on guys, always strive to do better.
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on December 2, 2005
Red Dust, the original on which Mogambo was based, starred Clark Gable and Jean Harlow set in Asia. 21 years later, the remake was in technicolor, shot in Africa and starred Ava Gardner and Grace Kelly.

What made this movie attractive were the 3-dimensional characters - Gable, as the animal trapper Victor, won hands down with his masculine outlook, down-to-earth character, knew-it-all worldly knowledge. Grace Kelly, as the married woman Linda, would steal every one's heart with her elegant beauty. But it was Ava Garner that shone brightly throughout the movie. She was Kelly, the American who fought fiercely, but clumsily and in vain, in her pursuit of Victor's love. She might lose to Linda but beneath her unforgiving remarks about Linda, she had a big and understanding heart. She helped Victor all along and stood up for Victor and Linda when Linda's husband began to suspect. Ava Garner was beautifully portrayed here, both under the camera and in the script. She had wit, courage and adapted well in the jungle. And there was chemistry between Gable and Gardner, whose vulnerable feelings were disguised by their professions and their strong characters.

A thought provoking movie about sophisticated people and mature love. And I couldn't see the ending coming, not until the last minute.
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Ava Gardner could hardly be considered anyone's second choice, but this is what director John Ford and screenwriter John Lee Mahin would have you believe in this overripe 1952 safari melodrama. Yet, she is the primary reason why this film is still worth a look 56 years later. Far more intuitively than Angelina Jolie these days, Gardner epitomized a primal sensuality and a hidden vulnerability, the combination of which was intoxicating in her prime. Ford captures this, as well as her dark beauty and sharp comedy sense, by casting her as smart-mouthed, carefree playgirl Eloise "Honey Bear" Kelly, who has come to a remote African outpost to meet up with a wealthy maharajah. Finding herself stood up, she is greeted by no-nonsense big game hunter Victor Marswell as she conveniently takes a shower al fresco. Before sparks can truly fly, a young British anthropologist and his prudish wife, Donald and Linda Nordley, arrive naively drawn to the flora and fauna.

Then a rather preposterous story turn occurs in which Marswell becomes smitten with Mrs. Nordley, and she with him since she swoons over the manly hunter over her milquetoast husband. Looking the patrician beauty that served her well during her brief movie career, a 24-year-old Grace Kelly plays Linda in typical melodramatic fashion. Her English accent is a bit overdone, and her character's motivations too simplistically presented for Kelly to shine, especially next to Gardner. As Marswell, the 52-year-old Clark Gable doesn't have quite the swagger he displayed so easily in his youth when he first played this role in 1932's Red Dust with Jean Harlow and Mary Astor in the Gardner and Kelly parts. However, it is a testament to his enduring appeal that he is at all convincing as a magnet for two much younger women.

But make no mistake that Gable, who has to maintain a stoic, man-of-mystery demeanor as Marswell, really hands the picture to Gardner. In particular, she has a fetching couple of scenes where she sings Robert Burns' "Comin' Through the Rye" and seems truly to enjoy interacting with the wild animals. It's all a hoot, and the location filming in Kenya and Uganda really brings the story to vibrant life. Ford handles the exotic background as well as he does Monument Valley in his classic westerns, and he makes sure to keep goosing the story with action elements so that the focus is not completely on the love triangle. Industry veteran Robert Surtees and David Lean's favorite cameraman Freddie Young shared cinematography responsibilities, and the look of the film is sumptuous even by MGM's high standards. The only extra with the 2006 DVD is the original theatrical trailer.
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on January 16, 2013
I'm a big fan of this film for its guilty pleasures and would like to give it 5 stars for my personal enjoyment but that wouldn't do justice to the true John Ford classics. This one is dynamite but, truthfully, 3 1/2 stars is more like it. This is a corny potboiler "movie movie" where bridled loins and unbridled passion meet with great star power. Grace Kelly is smokin' as the repressed English wife/marm of a sincere but dull Brit. But Ava Garder as a brassy urban night-lifer dropped in the middle of East Africa to keep the party goin' steals the show. Polar opposites, the two of them orbit around macho Clark Gable's big game hunter, everyone lusting for someone or something. And since the grass is always greener and he is a hunter after all, Gable is less interested in Ava's easy virtue than Kelly's cool chastity. John Ford rarely, if ever, did the romantic/sex thing to this extent (though John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara do steam it up in a few) but he goes the distance here. Set in a sweaty dangerous jungle full of hot and humid eyes and bodies, and toss in a gorilla hunt for added symbolism.........good stuff. Conformity of 1950s marriages are challenged here by Hollywood non-comformists so the general population didn't have to. The trailer is hilarious for all the references to the smoldering African atmosphere. Nothing to take seriously but well crafted period piece with mercurial John Ford at the helm. Good price for an atypical Ford collectible
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on October 8, 2000
If Clark Gable had not been a star before Mogambo, he would have been afterward. This is the kind of stuff that creates action heroes. You name it, it's got it ... adventure, romance, and intrigue. Sadly, it's the kind of picture which could never get made today. The characters in this story are the real thing ... the plot doesn't have to develop their personalities. It's a bigger-than-life scenario with ole big ears as the great white hunter, and the future Princess as the impressionable wife of an anthropologist. The only twist is that before the dashing couple arrives, another flame ignities our hero's fire. When they throw the whole gang into an ill-timed safari, all you-know-what breaks loose. The action doesn't interfere with the plot, and vice versa. Just about the time you think it might becoming a love story, it's action time. The movie keeps you interested from the first shot to the happy ending. What would you expect from a Gable and Grace movie?
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on December 19, 2005
Heads up to all Clark Gable/Grace Kelly/Ava Gardner/John Ford fans!!

MOGAMBO is now available on DVD exclusively in Target Stores (not available online)- just was browsing this week's ad (12/18-12/24/2005) and nearly fell off my chair to see it advertised as a "Target Exclusive" for only $9.99!! What a great holiday surprise! (Target is also exclusive carrier of Ford's 3 GODFATHERS) - Hope the DVD gets wider distribution after the '05 holidays but I know where I'm going tonight with 10 bucks! Hope this was happy holiday news to you all!
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on March 27, 2013
"Mogambo" features three of Hollywood's (at the time) greatest stars (Gable, Gardner and up-and-coming Kelly) in a love trilogy set in Africa. What separates this film from others of the genre is, of course, John Ford. At the top of his game, Ford was known not only as a consummate story teller, but an expert in creating a "visual universe" for the viewer....the Africa he captures transports the viewer to that continent, the sights and sounds becoming part of the experience. Performances are uniformly excellent---particularly supporting actors, and, as always with a John Ford production, the storyline is compelling and fast-paced. Although references to natives as "boys" and the frequent portrayal of the slaughter of wild animals will make 21st century viewers cringe a bit, the story is superb and worth a second (even third viewing).....Ford was a genius, and this is his picture from beginning to end---to any John Ford fan, that pretty well sums it up.
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on May 14, 2006
"Mogambo" (1953) is a good film with an excellent ending that makes you want to watch it again. Of course, the great cast and the place where the story was filmed help, and a lot.

This movie was directed by John Ford, and filmed in Africa. The plot is simple, but quite effective. Victor Marswell (Clark Gable) is a safari guide whose like is disrupted when a beautiful woman, Eloise Kelly (Ava Gardner), shows up at his camp, looking for a majarajah. Unfortunately for her, her "acquaintance" has left and she has to remain in the camp at least until the next boat arrives. Eloise starts to fall for Victor, and their attraction seems mutual, but not meant to be.

However, things are further stirred up when a couple, Professor Donald Nordley (Donald Sinden) and his wife Linda (Grace Kelly) arrive to Victor?s complex for a safari. The problem is that now Eloise likes Victor, Victor is attracted to Linda, and Linda has feelings for Victor but is married to Donald, who is not aware of what is happening around him and is only interested in looking for gorillas.

Of course, that situation is a good recipe for entertainment. Throw in a great scenery and some wild animals, and you have a very entertaining movie. All in all, I give this movie 3.5 stars, and I think it is worthwhile to recommend it :)

Belen Alcat
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